The Red Scare

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, many southern and eastern European immigrants were blamed for spreading revolutionary ideas.

Case study – Sacco and Vanzetti

Suspected communists Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti's case divided America

Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were suspected communists.

They were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery of a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts.

After a controversial trial and a series of appeals, the two Italian immigrants were executed on 23 August 1927.

The case divided opinion in America with many believing that the men were on trial for their radical beliefs, not the crimes that they were accused of.

This idea was echoed by Vanzetti himself in his final statement in court:

quote conviction is that I have suffered for things that I am guilty of. I am suffering because I am a radical and indeed I am a radical; I have suffered because I was an Italian, and indeed I am an Italian.Bartolomeo Vanzetti, April 9, 1927